Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dedicated Mothers

My sister clutched the article tightly in her hand as she read it; “look at this!” she exclaimed. “Here is this non-Muslim man writing about the benefits of mothers staying at home to care for their children”.

Naturally we all clamoured to see what she was talking about. The article was quite interesting. The man, by the name of Clive Percival, was discussing how important it is for mothers to stay at home with their children. He cited research studies to back up his claim and if I recall correctly he even mentioned how more and more women were beginning to realize that it was better for their children and for themselves if they stayed at home to look after the children. If I had not known better and if the man’s photo was not boldly displayed in his column, I would’ve insisted that this article had been written by a Muslim, his argument sounded so on par with Islamic principles.

My sister was smiling as she finished reading the article. I could see the happiness in her eyes. “Alhamdulila that I made the choice to leave work and stay at home to look after my children”, she was saying. “I’m going to stick this article up on my wall”, she added. And, indeed, the article can be seen on her kitchen wall, nicely framed and everything!

I was thinking back to the days when I was younger. When I’d look forward to going home after school because I knew that I would be welcomed by a warm plate of delicious food, a clean house and of course a smiling mother. Those moments were precious, just knowing that my mother would be at home waiting for me gave me reassurance that I was cared for and loved. Not to mention the fact that it kept me out of trouble as I was always caught out whenever I even tried to do something I wasn’t supposed to be doing! My mother was aware of what was going on in my life because she was always present and played an active role as a parent. That would have been very difficult for her if she could not be around all the time. Who knows what mischief I would have gotten up to!

There was something that made me really sad about this though and it was the fact that these mothers, these amazing women who sacrifice their own wants and needs to be there for their children are given so little regard. I think that it’s even more difficult to be at home with your children all of the time than to go out and work. Now, I’m not saying that women shouldn’t go out and work, there are many women; Muslim and non-Muslim who can’t afford to stay at home. This is understandable and I cannot condemn it. My problem is with people who believe that stay-at-home mothers are less important. There are those people who regard these women as inferior or even oppressed because they do not leave their homes to go and work.

What’s worse is that the fact that these women choose to stay with their children because they believe that it is better for the children, is conveniently ignored. These are the women that should be honoured, the ones that should receive gold medals and certificates of recognition, and with all the fights they have to resolve, these are the women who really deserve to get the Nobel Peace Prize!

These women have the most important job of all; they are responsible for shaping and moulding the future generation. They have to teach their children values and morals, they have to discipline them even when their hearts break to do this, and they have to teach them about loving God, respecting others and to always do what’s right. If anyone thinks this task is an easy one, then they have no idea what they’re talking about, none whatsoever!

And of course once again we see a completely absurd double standard. When a Muslim woman is a stay- at- home mum, then she automatically becomes regarded as oppressed, un-liberated and un-informed. Yet, when a non-Muslim woman makes the exact same choice, she is admired for her sacrifice and dedication to her children and family. Do these double standards make sense to anyone?

So yes, you will come across many Muslim women who have chosen to stay at home and look after their children. Some of them are educated and even have College Diploma’s or University Degree’s, some of them still work from home, others can afford not to. Sometimes they become overwhelmed and feel stressed out, at other times they understand that their sacrifice is important for the well-being of their kids, but it cannot be denied that throughout all this, these women are extremely dedicated and for this they should be rewarded immensely and honoured above anyone else! But the nature of these women is that they would not accept the rewards and honour of people on this earth, because most of them understand that they will be rewarded by their Creator, and as for honour, well this has been granted to them by the One true Creator, Allah Almighty honoured mothers and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us about this when he said three times that mothers should be honoured, “Your mother, your mother, your mother, and then your father”.

It’s quite simple, isn’t it, it makes so much sense when you begin to understand, and I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at all that people don’t get it. After all, everything real and true in this world is certain to be misunderstood.

So to all you mothers out there- let them call you un-liberated, un-educated and oppressed, let them feel pity for you and even insist that you should be out there, in the workplace. Let them talk about how you have to spend your days looking after many children, let them scorn and ridicule you, and let them regard you as inferior! Remember though, that you are the ones who have the most important and most difficult of all jobs, you are the ones who have been elevated, perhaps not in the eyes of people, but in the eyes of the Almighty! You are the ones who will be rewarded when it really matters! And, when you feel like it’s just too much, when your tasks seem overwhelming and your children demand your attention to the point where you feel that you can’t take it any longer, remember that Allah is watching you, and for everything that you continue to do, you will be rewarded! Insha’Allah Ameen.

May Allah (SWT) be with all our dedicated mothers and grant them ease in their tasks, and may they be rewarded in this world and the hereafter!

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